By Carol Stender
Date Modified: 08/02/2012 2:04 PM
SHAKOPEE, Minn. —Michaela Bengston, Nicholas Peterson and Kevin Welter are new Minnesota Corn Growers Association Agvocates.
The new Agvocates will gain leadership, communication and advocacy skills through the three-year-old program.
Bengston is from Kandiyohi and grew up on a 34-cow dairy farm.
Bengston is a 2010 Princess Kay of the Milky Way finalist and is interested in telling others about agriculture. With her family, she helps coordinate an annual PALS Day on the farm where students visit and experience farm life.
At Ridgewater College in Willmar, Bengston was a Phi Theta Kappa member and an Agricultural Ambassador. After transferring to the University of Minnesota, she plans to major in agricultural education and either teach or work in promotions and marketing.
Her parents are her mentors, she said.
"They have encouraged me to follow my dreams and set goals," she aid. "They taught me to work hard and always do my best even when times are tough."
Nicholas Peterson grew up on the family farm near Clear Lake owned by his parents, Alan and Laurie. His father and a brother finish about 300 head of Holstein cattle and manage about 1,000 acres of farmland. They grow field corn, seed corn, soybeans and kidney beans.
Working on the family farm has instilled in him a good work ethic and the ability to work as a team, he said. He attends the University of Minnesota and is majoring in applied plant science.
He is a summer intern with Land O'Lakes/Winfield Solutions.
As he continues his studies at the U of M, Peterson looks for opportunities to get more involved in agriculture.
"When I heard about the Agvocate program, I thought it was a good way to advance my interests and network with people in agriculture," he said.
Kevin Welter is from Stewartville. His parents, Randy and Myrna, operate a swine and crop farm.
He is one of seven children and has worked with the hog operation. A portion of the farm is a farrow-to-finish operation with 120 sows. The pigs are raised to market weight and are direct marketed to Hormel in Austin.
They also raise corn, soybeans and alfalfa on 450 acres.
Through FFA, Welter volunteered at the CHS Miracle of Birth Center at the Minnesota State Fair.
"Caring for the animals was a part of the experience," he said. "The largest part of my responsibilities was sitting by the animals and answering the public's questions. While volunteering, I realized how little the general public knew about production agriculture. After volunteering, I knew there was more I could do to tell the story of Agriculture. For these reasons, I desired to become an Agvocate and share the true story of agriculture."
Welter will be a sophomore at South Dakota State University this fall majoring in ag business with an accounting minor. His dream job would be work in ag lending or ag financing, he said.